The North Carolina General Statute 90-95 governs the penalties and sanctions for various drug charges. Each type of drug is classified differently and they have varying degrees of penalties depending on these classifications.
Cocaine Possession is considered a felony in North Carolina. Simple possession of Cocaine is a lower range Class I felony. The potential penalty for first time offenders in possession of Cocaine is 6 months to one year in prison. Distributing Cocaine is more serious and is considered a Class H felony. The jail sentence associated with distribution of cocaine can be anywhere from 10 to 30 months in prison. If you were found to be distributing 28 grams or more of cocaine, you will be charged with drug trafficking. Trafficking charges increase the minimum penalties substantially. Trafficking 28-200 grams of cocaine is considered a Class G felony exposing you to 70 months in prison. 200-400 grams of Cocaine will increase the charge to a Class F felony exposing you to up to 93 months in prison. And finally, trafficking more than 400 grams of cocaine will increase your charge to a Class D felony exposing you to 175 to 219 months in prison.
The law considers some drugs more dangerous than others and Cocaine charges are more difficult to defend than Marijuana charges. There are ways to deal with these cases however. An experienced attorney should be able to position a first time offender on a charge of Cocaine Possession for dismissal of the charge. There may be requirements like drug assessments and education programs, but a dismissal is not out of the question in these cases. Distribution and Trafficking provide more serious challenges, but mitigating the damage in these situations can be done. The closer you get to a Class A felony the more serious the charge is, and the more challenging it is to negotiate a positive resolution with the DA’s office. Trafficking charges often carry a mandatory minimum sentences of incarceration. Sometimes this mandatory minimum can be averted with ‘substantial assistance’ to the government. Substantial Assistance often requires working with law enforcement as a confidential informant.
Another option available to those charged with a crime is to review the evidence and decide whether or not the case should be litigated. An experienced attorney will help guide you through making that decision. If your constitutional rights have been violated, you may want to consider filing a variety of pre-trial motions to work on getting the case dismissed, or parts of the evidence suppressed.